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10 November 2016, 06:13
Bournemouth Police first in Dorset to use body worn video cameras in new six month trial.
Body worn video (BWV) is a joint initiative between Dorset Police and Devon and Cornwall Police to equip officers with an audio and video recording device.
The objective of this pilot in Bournemouth is to test the equipment in live incident settings before a full roll-out of BWV cameras across both Forces is agreed.
The pilot cameras will be rolled out to selected officers in phases across three Dorset stations. Phase one started with Bournemouth and will continue to Blandford and Bridport in the coming months.
The aim is to eventually provide cameras to all operational front line officers. The cameras will be used to record the majority of incidents and encounters, making the police even more transparent and enabling officers to be even more accountable for their actions.
Dorset Police operational lead, Chief Inspector Richard Bell, said; "The officers selected to take part in the trial will receive training in the legal, moral and ethical implications of wearing the device.
"The cameras will be docked and downloaded at every shift, and files will be tagged for evidence.
"BWV offers the police more opportunities to capture evidence. Footage captured by the cameras will prove beneficial in many situations, for example domestic abuse and public order incidents."
Footage from BWV devices is recognised throughout the legal chain. Nationally it is acknowledged that BWV footage accelerates the judicial process, by speeding up prosecutions and encouraging early guilty pleas.
Colin Pipe, Acting Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner said, "BWV cameras are extremely useful for officers in many ways. They can de-escalate situations, reduce confrontation and can be useful in the case of a complaint against police.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has undertaken a number of surveys over the past three years which have consistently shown that the public support introducing this deployable asset to policing in Dorset.
Body worn cameras will help to increase the evidence gathering ability of officers, especially in domestic abuse and public order scenarios and the technology is a win-win scenario for the police, victims of crime and the courts."